Mount Edelstone Vineyard

The beautiful and historical name Mount Edelstone is a translation from the German Edelstein meaning 'gemstone'. The dry-grown ungrafted centenarian vines were planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, a descendant of George Fife Angas, who founded South Australia.


The Origin

Johann Menge, a German geologist, mineralogist and gardener explored and surveyed the regions around Adelaide in the new free colony of South Australia, on behalf of George Fife Angas and Colonel William Light. This land was granted to George Fife Angas shortly afterwards, together with large tracts of land in the most fertile region along the North Para River in the Barossa Range.


The Angas Family

The land passed to his great-grandson Ronald Angas who established a large orchard and vineyard on the eastern slope of Mount Edelstone near his homestead Hutton Vale.


The First Vintage

Cyril Henschke was offered the grapes from Colin Angas, the son of Ronald Angas, from the early 1950s. The first Mount Edelstone bottled as a single-vineyard wine was the 1952 vintage. It was simply labelled as Mount Edelstone Claret bottled by C A Henschke & Co, North Rhine Winery, Keyneton, South Australia. The back label read, “This wine is made from shiraz grapes grown at Mount Edelstone Vineyard, Keyneton.


A Great Australian Shiraz

The 1956 vintage won First Prize in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. It stormed the national wine show circuit and announced its formidable presence at the forefront of the pioneering days of Australian red table wine. When Cyril purchased the vineyard from Colin Angas in 1974, Mount Edelstone was already well entrenched as one of Australia’s greatest shiraz wines.

Mount Edelstone Vineyard Today

The original 1m high trellis consists of two wires that carry two to three arched canes with a bud number of around fifty to sixty per vine. The foliage forms a drooping canopy, which helps to reduce shoot vigour. In 1989 Prue trialled ten rows of a Scott Henry trellis in which the shoots were trained upwards and downwards from the fruiting canes. This allowed the sunlight to reach the leaves and fruit, increased fruit production, colour and flavour, improved tannin maturity and promoted earlier ripening. The trellis had such a positive impact on wine quality that more than three-quarters of the vineyard has now been converted to Scott Henry.

Mount Edelstone is underlain by laminated siltstones of the Tapley Hill Formation. The soil layers go to a significant depth before reaching the bedrock. Fine sandy loams lie over deep, gravelly, medium-red clays. A pale mottled clay/clay-loam layer indicates that a large degree of leaching and periodic waterlogging has occurred.

The rocks beneath the red clay soils are schists of Cambrian age. These are metamorphosed mineral-rich sediments, originally deposited in a shallow sea, then deeply buried, and finally pushed back up to the surface, where they have weathered to produce a thick soil layer.

The vineyard has a permanent sward that includes native grasses. Like the other Henschke vineyards, Mount Edelstone is managed using organic and biodynamic practices. This includes using composted grape marc, milk whey, bicarbonate sprays and special preparations such as cow-pit peat made primarily from cow manure. It is broken down into a rich soil medium that is oxygenated in flowing water and sprayed over the land four to five times through spring. A preparation, known as 501 and made from finely crushed quartz crystals (silicon dioxide) buried in cow horns, is mixed with water and misted over the vines. The silica crystals reflect more light into the canopy and stimulate photosynthesis.

The mass selection program begun by Prue in 1986 to identify the best vines for propagation has resulted in a nursery of the best vines for propagation has resulted in a nursery of the top-selected vines. Cuttings are propagated and planted as needed in the vineyard, usually one or two a year, to replace old vines as they die.


Eden Valley wine region, 4km west of the Henschke winery at Keyneton, in the Mount Lofty Ranges east of Barossa Valley, South Australia.


Shiraz, on own roots, dry grown. Vines sourced from pre-phylloxera material from Joseph Gilbert's nursery; believed to originate from James Busby's selection. Planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas.


Deep sandy loam over gravelly medium-red clay, overlying laminated siltstone.


Average yield: 3 t/ha (1.25 t/acre)
Trellis: Two Wire Vertical, Scott Henry
Planting: Wide planting 3.7m x 3.7m giving 783 vines/ha. Rows are planted east-west; dry grown
Treatments undervine: Mulching and permanent sward, incorporating organic and biodynamic practices.
Maintenance quality: Mass selection carried out over three growing seasons from 1986. Establishment of a nursery source block in 1989. Assessment of trellis systems and use of rootstock.
Rainfall: 600mm
Altitude: 400m
Latitude: 34° 32'
Longitude: 139° 06'
Aspect: Easterly
Size: 16ha (40 acres)